An important step in remodeling or restoring your home is to make sure that your appliances are maintained and working safely. Otherwise it would be a shame to have all the time and effort put into your home go to waste when your dishwasher lights up in flames like a Roman candle on the Fourth of July.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 150,000 residential fires have caused $547 million in property damage and 150 deaths in just a two-year period from 2006 to 2008. These fires were found to have been all ignited by home appliances. In a closer study, Consumer Reports found that 50% of the appliance fires from 2002 to 2009 were caused by human mistakes, animals or storms while the other half was due to faulty product.
Although the government has not released the names of the companies with defective products, many consumers are pointing the finger at Whirlpool and its various brand names because of their faulty circuitry in their dishwashers. Oddly enough, statistics show that over half of home appliance-related fires are caused by dishwashers. Statistics also show that four out of every five recalls for malfunctioning appliances are made out of the country: Mostly from China.
Whirlpool released a statement to counter all the bad publicity:
“Whirlpool Corporation builds its dishwashers with, among many other state-of-the-art safety features, components that turn off power to the electronic control board in the extremely unlikely event that the control board begins to overheat. The safety features are designed to limit potential damage to the unit.”
But the truth is that any household appliance can become a fire hazard if not treated properly. (Yes, defective product problems cannot be averted by the consumer, but that is why we highly recommend registering all your new appliances on the manufacturer’s website so that you can be notified of any recalls as they occur).
So here are some helpful tips to prevent a household fire and determine whether an appliance needs repairs:
- Check for Loose Plugs. The metal sides should be in full contact with the metal in the socket. If the metal or plastic is black, pitted, melted or loose then the sockets should not be used again until replaced. Otherwise all that electrical power surging through the connector could ignite the plastic or metal and cause a fire.
- Replace Gas Oven Ignitors Every 4-8 Years. If your gas oven makes a thud or popping noise when it starts, or takes too long cooking or baking food (and the food is undercooked after an hour) then your ignitors have worn out and need to be replaced. Turn off your oven and do NOT turn it on again until a repairman has inspected and repaired it. There could be a chance your gas valve is opening improperly and could cause an explosion.
- Clean Out Dryer Venting Tubes. Non-flexible venting tubes should be cleaned out of debris every two years, or replaced every two years if the tubes are flexible or corrugated metal. It is highly recommended that a vent cleaning company does this for you, because if you’re not a professional, you can actually break the venting tube. If that happens, you’ll then have to pay an additional fee to have a professional cut into the walls and fix it. Overlooking the ventilation tubing from your dryer can cause debris build-up, and the excessive heat within your walls could cause your home to catch fire.
If you have any concerns about the appliances that are within your home, you can check www.saferproducts.gov for a list of recalled products. For additional information about preventing household fires or tips on overlooked appliance maintenance or to help you restore your home after an appliance has started a fire, give us a call on our 24/7 phone line. Our trained technicians are standing by to help you, day and night.